Reverse Coronary Artery Disease with Pycnogenol and Centella

September 20, 2020

Reverse Atherosclerosis? Really!

We have been chasing this Holy Grail for years. Is there a way to turn off the inflammatory process that causes plaque to form in your arteries? Now that we can measure calcium buildup in arteries with ultrasounds and CTs of the heart, we have begun to explore other avenues that start with prevention.

The very first evidence came out in the 1970s and 80s with Ornish and Pritikin encouraging folks to eat less animal protein. Their early work was encouraging but going without meat in America can be a challenge. Esselstyn is now the current standard-bearer of this concept, and he has a similar approach: vegan, no fat.

More recently, Dr. Gundry has focused on the damage caused by lectins in our food and how their avoidance can reduce the inflammation of arteries and reverse "endothelial dysfunction". He has now published, and we reviewed, his research showing that the combination of fish oil, pycnogenol and grape seed extract markedly reduced that first step of damage: endothelial dysfunction. He used 50 mg of Pycnogenol.

Now,this week's headline study ups the ante to 150 mg a day of Pycnogenol (Mediterranean Pine Bark Extract) along with a new partner, Centella Asiatica. Add in the Centella and real change happened. Everyone got dietary and lifestyle advice. (Not Ornish or Esselstyn level, but "advice" and counseling.) The control group had progression of vascular disease. So, lifestyle changes were inadequate. The Pycnogenol alone group had the halting of progression. But throw in Centella and there was a 10% regression. In another study on folks with stents in their arteries, lifestyle advice only show 60% progression of disease. Pycnogenol patients had an 18% progression. Pycnogenol and Centella patients had 9% REgression. Regression is good. In fact, it's huge.

Just what makes Centella Asiatica so potent? Well, it has been used in India as an herb for wound healing for some 3,000 years, so it's not new. There is precious little bench research on it. Perhaps there should be more. Wikipedia details how it has been used in curries and salads throughout South Asia for millennia. It's just food.

Pycnogenol we know about. Thank you, Dr. Gundry, for making that well known. Now, just up that dose to 150 mg.

www.What will work for me. I'm hot on this topic. It is one of our intractable problems. I believe that animal protein with its abundance of branched-chain amino acids creates a credible risk for vascular disease, which is why "dietary advice" always recommends less animal protein, more vegetables. But I've had numerous failures as this diet isn't easily maintained, living in America. Chondroitin plays a role, yet to be fully understood. In mice, it's great. I get a cardiac calcium scan every 5 years. If I show any progression, I'm going Gotu Kola (Centella's Indian name) and Pycnogenol. In the meantime, less meat, less sugar, more veges, and good exercise.

References: Ornish, Pritikin, Esselstyn, American HeartMinerva Cardioangiol., Minerva Cardioangiol, Science Direct,

Pop Quiz

1. What is Centella Asiatica? Answer: a plant that grows all over South Asia that is edible and been used in wound healing for several thousand years. Not new.

2. What is Pycnogenol? Answer: like aspirin, an extract of tree bark. In this case, French Mediterranean Pine Bark.

3. This week's study showed what? A modest reversal of vascular plaque compared to progression in folks not taking pycnogenol and Centella.

4. Is there any toxicity from Centella? Answer: well, it's been in food in South Asia for thousands of years, so the answer is probably not. But concentrate the active terpenoid out of it, stay tuned. I hope more research gets done.

5. Where can I find this stuff? Answer: The supplement industry has been on it for a year or two now. Life Extension has a product called Arterial Protect. Get a cardiac calcium scan and then try it for a year. Remember to eat less meat and sugar. And don't think cheese and yogurt aren't also animal protein/fat.